Die-hard Doctor Who fans have long turned against any hope or even interest in the return of head writer and EP Russell T. Davies. However, there is more interest than could have initially been expected for the upcoming 60th anniversary specials. Perhaps the star power of David Tennant and Catherine Tate combined with Davies’ writing prowess, which has most likely been corrupted by years of political influence, will garner interest in the anniversary specials from those who have not lost all hope.
The recent release of another trailer for the 60th anniversary specials starring David Tennant, Neil Patrick Harris, Yasmin Finney, Catherine Tate, and the late Bernard Cribbins outperformed expectations in its first 24 hours. There isn’t much to say about the trailer beyond the rampant use of member berries and generic cinematic grandeur. However, the meta response to the trailer is worth discussing. Within the first 24 hours, the trailer blew past one million views, which is impressive considering the franchise’s current state and the number of views previous trailers have gotten. Additionally, the trailer reached at least #5 in trending on YouTube.
Does this surprise reaction, not extraordinary but respectable, signal that fans are beginning to acclimate to the idea of Doctor Who’s return, or is morbid curiosity to blame? The only things that can firmly answer this question are the viewership figures for the 60th anniversary specials and the subsequent series 14. Until then, all this is speculation.
Regardless, it is doubtful that Doctor Who will ever return to its former glory after Chris Chibnall’s and Jodie Whittaker’s disastrous run. The franchise’s political infusion has poisoned its well, birthing the abominable “Timeless Children.” Because Davies has made it clear he has no plans to retcon anything from the Chibnall era or keep his extreme politics out of the show, a substantial portion of fans have abandoned any hope of returning. Without your die-hards spreading free publicity to the normies, a niche franchise like Doctor Who can never repay the massive investment made by Disney, Sony, the BBC, and Bad Wolf Productions. The current model for the franchise is likely to collapse, like many of Disney’s models, regardless of whatever small success these specials and Ncuti Gatwa’s first season might initially receive.